San Juan, Night Of The Beach Bonfires Some of the most spectacular and unusual events in Tenerife are free, that is certainly the case with the Noche de San Juan (the night of Saint John) on 23 June which marks the longest day.
The beach is the place to be anywhere around the island but Los Cristianos is a real hot spot for this celebration. The Saint John that lends his name to the night is also known as John the Baptist which explains the rituals of cleansing and renewal. Once it goes dark the old beach of Los Cristianos and the long sandy stretch of Las Vistas take on a vibrant glow as people gather for picnics around fires of many sizes. A few large bonfires form focal points but there are many more smaller ones made in scooped out hollows on the beach.
One of the traditions is to jump the small fires three times to symbolically purge your mistakes and bad luck of the previous year and to wish for good fortune in the year ahead. Running into the sea is another popular way of cleansing the soul, this reaches a climax at midnight when the statue of San Juan is carried shoulder high into the sea to be washed and blessed.
The party goes on all night until the dawn and it’s on a large scale, the promenade is often busier than in the day and several of the beach front bars are open until at least midnight. Everyone is welcome, you don’t have to join in, just watching and enjoying this historic event is a great way to feel closer to the culture of Tenerife.